Skip to main content

Full text of "Robert Browning's poetry. Outline studies"

See other formats



B 3 31H ^=11 

A. avail- . .iVjit> 

Robert Browning s Poetry 

The development of a soul ; little else is worth study " 

Otctline Stttdies 





lyj Dearborn Street 



•> 7 






Prefatory Note 4 

A Classification of the Entire Writings of Robert Browning . 5 

Shorter Programmes 31 

Chronological List 35 

Helps to the Study of Browning 40 

The Chicago Browning Society 41 

Rules for Literary Clubs 42 

Browning and the Critics 43 

Lectures and Papers • • .46 

Constitution, Officers, and Members of the Chicago Browning 

Society 47 

Plan of Work for 1886-7 50 

Advertisements 5' 


These outlines have been prepared with the hope that thejmay 
help in the study of a poet whose works evince the highest poetic art 
and insight, works which are so numerous and varied in character 
that they constitute, as Canon Farrar says, " a literature in them- 

The order in which the poems of R obert Browning shall be studied 
is an important question, though fortunately one that permits of 
various answers, each of which will yield good results. The order 
set forth in the accompanying outline is the result of considerable 
experience as well as much thought, and it is hoped will commend 
itself to many. But others will prefer to begin with the love poems 
or the dramas, which display the poet's most characteristic quality. 
He is always dramatic Whatever form or style he uses, his writings 
are everywhere permeated by the spirit of a living, struggling hu- 

*" Man's thoughts and loves and hates. 
Earth is my vineyard, these grew there." 

One club in New York began with " Sordello " and courageously 
carried the study through three years, although it is the poem upon 
which chiefly rests the poet's reputation for obscurity. Other classes 
have begun with " The Ring and The Book." 

Whatever order is pursued, the student of Browning, like that of 
any other poet, had better pursue his work in his own way. The 
best results are attained in the open mind, equally devoid of preju- 
dice and conceit, which acquires its own power of judging and makes 
its own application of the truths and lessons taught. 

♦Epilogfue to Pacchiarotto. 



Of the entire writings of Robert Browning, arranged for the 
guidance of clubs and classes, with a few notes added, containing 
information not found in the text. 

Those shrinking from the long course can readily and profitably 
elect such numbers as attract them. 

The abbreviations refer to titles of books in the American 
edition. See chronological list, page 35. 


1. Biography and Bibliography of Browning, (a.) 

2. Popular Poems. 

v/Xhe Pied Piper of Hameiin. D. P. (d.) 
The Boy and the Angel. D. P. (c.) 
The Twins. M. and W. (d.) 
■ v/How They brought the Good News from Ghent 
to Aix. D. P. (e.) 

(a.) See article by E. W, Gosse in Scridner's^ Dec. 18S1 ; London 
Browning Society Papers, Part I ; *' Poets and Problems," by George 
W. Cooke; Stedman's "Victorian Poets." A good portrait of the 
poet is published in Illustrations, Part II. L. B. S. 

(b.) Written for the little son of the actor, William Macready. 

(c) Compare Longfellow's " King Robert of Sicily." 

(d.) This parable is told by Martin Luther in his "Table Talk." 
This poem was published with Mrs, Browning's " A Plea for the 
Ragged Schools of London." " These two poems were printed by 
Miss Arabella Barrett, Mrs. Browning's sister, for a bazaar to benefit 
the ' Refuge for Young Destitute Girls,' one of the first refuges of 
the kind, and still in existence. ^^—Londo?i Bro-wning Society Papers. 



(e.) This ride is supposed to have occurred during the Dutch war 
of Independence, early in the seventeentli century. The following 
extract is from, a letter written by Mr. Browning: "There is no sort 
of historical foundation about ' Good News from Ghent.' I wrote it 
under the bulwark of a vessel off the African coast, after I had been 
at sea long enough to appreciate even the fancy of a gallop or) the 
back of a certain good horse ' York,' then in my stable at home." 


Poems of Heroism. 

<y I. Incident of a French camp. D. P. {a.) 
2. Pheidippides. Ag. (b.) 
. 3. Echetlos. Ag. (c.) 
y 4. Herv6 Riel. F. (^.) 

/ 5. Tray. Ag. (^.) 
v/ 6. The Patriot. M. & W. (/.) 

7. Clive. Ag. {g) 

8. The Lost Leader, (/z.) • 

(a.) The story of this poem is true with the exception that its hero 
was not a boy but a full-grown man. 

{Jj) " The facts related in ' Pheidippides ' belong to Greek legendary 
history and are told by Herodotus and other writers. When Athens 
was threatened by the invading Persians, she sent a running messen- 
ger to Sparta to demand help against the foreign foe. The mission 
was unsuccessful but the runner Pheidippides fell in on his return 
with the god Pan; and although alone among Greeks, the Athenians 
had refused to honor him. he promised to fight with them in the com- 
ing battle. Pheidippides was present when this battle — that of Mara- 
thon — was fought and won." — Mrs. Orr's '•'■ Handbook P 

He ran once again and announced the victory at Athens. The re- 
lease from toil which Pan promised him as a reward for his labors 
was not the release he had expected. Marathon was well-known as 
the » fennel-field." 

(c.) This is another legend of the battle of Marathon. The word 
' Echetlos " means " Holder of the Ploughshare." A picture of 
Echetlos was in Athens. 

(ff.) A true story of 1692. 


{e.) This scene really occurred in Paris. The poem is a biting sar- 
casm, directed against vivisection, which the poet has repeatedlj 
called " an infamous practice.'' 

(/".) In the first edition the scene of this poem was laid in Brescia, 
but subsequently the name of the city was omitted and the" signifi- 
cance of its universal application thereby heightened. 

(g.) "That part of the poem, in which Clive says that if the bully 
had, instead of confessing himself a cheat, pardoned Clive and spared 
his life, he should have picked up the weapon cast away by his foe 
and used it on himself, is Browning's own invention. Reconsidered 
it a legitimate deduction from the fact that, when Clive had to face 
an inquiry into his conduct, he destroyed himself. On the day of 
Lord Clive's death, a lady, who was staying in the house, asked him 
to come in and mend a pen for her. Such was his nerve that he did 
so and then went into the next room and cut his throat with the very 
penknife he had used in her service." — L. Br. S. Papers. 

(Ji.) Refers to Wordsworth, for his defection, with Southey and 
others, from the liberal cause. \ 


Art— Poetry and Poets. 

1. How It Strikes A Contemporary. M. and W. 

2. Transcendentalism. M. and W. {a.) 

3. " Touch Him Ne'er So Lightly." Epilogue to 

Dramatic Idyls. Ag. {b.) 

4. Memorabilia. M. and W. 

5. Epilogue to Pacchiarotto. {c.) 

7. At The Mermaid. Pac. {d.) 

8. House. Pac. (e.) 

9. Popularity. M. and W. (/.) 

{a.) Johannes Teutonicus, a canon of Halberstadt, in Germany, 
after he had performed a number of prestigious feats almost incredi- 
ble, was transported by the Devil in the likeness of a black horse^ 
and was both seen and heard upon one and the same Christmas Day 
to sav mu'^s in Halberstadt, in Mayntz and in Cologne." — Heyivoocfs 
'-''Hierarchy^'' Book IV. 


{b.) These lines were taken bj critics as referring to Browning's 
own poetry. On writing them again in the album of Mrs. R. H. 
Dana (Miss Edith Longfellow) he added the following lines: 

Thus I wrote in London, musing on my betters, 
Poets dead and gone; and lo, the critics cried, '' 

" Out on such a boast! " as if I dreamed that fetters 
Binding Dante, bind up me! as if true pride 
Were not also humble ! 

So I smiled and sighed 
As I oped your book in Venice this bright morning, 
Sweet, new friend of mine! and felt the clay or sand — 
Whatsoe'er my soil be, — break — for praise or scorning — 
Out in grateful fancies — weeds, but weeds expand 
Almost into flowers, held by such a kindly hand. 

(c.) This is spoken directly by Mr. Browning himself and is a 
criticism of his critics. The words "The poets pour us wine " at the 
beginning of the poem are quoted from Mrs. Browning's "Wine of 

{d.) Browning speaks here behind the mask of Shakespeare. To 
" throw Venus " was to throw the highest cast at Roman dice. 

(e.) See Wordsworth's Sonnet, " Scorn not the Sonnet." 

(/.) Compare George Eliot's " Jubal." 


Art — Poetry Continued. 

1. The Two Poets of Croisic. Ag. {a.) 

2. Essay on Shelley. B. S. Papers, (b.) 

(a.) Le Croisic is situated in the southeastern corner of Brittany. 
Sardine fishing and the crystallization of sea salt are still the chief oc- 
cupations of the villagers. Rene Gentilhomme lived in the first half 
of the seventeenth century, and Paul Desforges Maillard about a 
hundred years later. The story of the later poet forms the subject 
of a famous play, Piron's " Metromanie." 

(5.) The Essay on Shelley was written about the year 1851 to serve 
as an introduction to some Shelley Letters. These letters were after- 
wards discovered to be a forgery and the book was suppressed, but 
they gave Browning a chance of writing about the art of the poet he 



Art—Fainting and Painters. 

^ I. Fra Lippo Lippi. M. and W. (a.) 
^2. Andrea del Sarto. M. and W. (3.) 

3. The Guardian Angei. M. and VV. (c.) 

4. Pictor Ignotus. D. P. 

(a.) The story of the life of this well-known painter, as told here 
by himself, is historical, even to the incident of tht escapade from the 
palace of Cosmo de Medici, who had shut him up to finish his paint- 
ing The picture which he describes is that of " The Coronation of 
the Virgin," still in Florence. "Hulking Tom" was the painter 
known as Masaccio. See Lowell's poem of that name. 

{b) The facts related here are also historical in substance, though 
certain chroniclers present the character of Lucrezia more favorably. 
The king was Francis I. ' 

(c.) This describes an actual picture, imputed to Guercino and now 
in the church of St. Augustine at Fano on the coast of Italy. The 
" Alfi-ed " of the same poem is the friend referred to in the poem 
of " Waring " — Alfred Domett, then prime minister o\ New Zea- 
land. The London Browning Society have published photograph 
illustrations of this picture, also of Andrea del Sarto's picture of 
himself and his wife in the Pitti gallery at Florence, which suggested 
the poem, and Fra Lippo's picture of the " Coronation." 


Art— Painting and Sculpture. 

I. Old Pictures in Florence. M. and W. (a.) 
3. Eurydice. ((5.) 

3. A Face. D. P. 

4. Deaf and Dumb. A Group by Woolner. (c.) 

(a.) Stanzas 26, 27, 28. Bijordi is the family name of" Domenico," 
called " Ghirlandajo " from the family trade of ^^reath-making. 
■' Landro " stands for Alessandro Botticelli. " Lippino " was son of 
,Fra Lippo Lippi. Mr. Browning alludes to him as "wi-onged," 


because others were credited with some of his best work. Lorenzo 
Monaco (the monk) was a contemporary, or nearly so, of Fra 
Angelico, but more severe in manner. " Pollajolo " was both painter 
and sculptor. " Margheritone of Arezzo " was one of the earlier 
Old Masters and died, as Vasari states, infastidito (deeply annoyed) 
by the success of Giotto and the " new school," hence the funeral 
garb in which Mr. Browning depicts him. 

" Mr. Browning possesses or possessed pictures by all the artists 
mentioned in this connection." — Mrs. Orr. 

The translations of Vasari (which may be found in Bohn's Stand- 
ard Library) give accounts of three painters. 

The story of Giotto's O is told in every description of the painter, 
but the fact that in some editions O Avas misprinted " Oh " might 
cause some confusion. 

The *' dotard," who was to be pitched across the Alps before free- 
dom could be restored to Florence and art revive, was the Grand 

(3.) This poem is not included in the American edition of Brown- 
ing's works. It is the poet's interpretation of a picture by F- 

"But give them me — the mouth, the eyes, the brow! 
Let them once more absorb me! One look now 

Will lap me round forever, not to pass 
Out of its light, though darkness lie beyond! 
Hold me but safe again within the bond 

Of one immortal look ! all woe was 
Forgotten, and all terror that may be 
Defied ; no past is mine, no future I Look at me !" 

(c.) This poem is also unfortunately omitted from certain editions. 
It consists of eight lines written for Woolner's group of Constance 
and Arthur, the deaf and dumb children of Sir Thomas Fairbairn. 
The group was exhibited in the International Exhibition of 1862. 

" Only the prism's obstruction shows aright 
The secret of a sunbeam, breaks its light 
Into the jeweled bow from blankest white : 

So may a glory from defect arise : 
Only by Deafness may the vexed Love wreak 
Its insuppressive sense on brow and cheek, 
Only by Dumbness adequately speak 

As favored mouth could never, through the eyes. ' 



Art.— Music. 

1 . A Toccata of Galluppi's. M. and W. {a) 

2. Master Hugues of Saxe Gotha. M. and W. 

3. Abt Vogler. D. P. 

{a.) "The Venetian Baldassarre Galuppi, surnamed Buranello, was 
an immensely prolific composer, and abounded in melodj, tender, 
pathetic and brilliant." — Studies of the Eighteenth Cetitury in Italy ^ 
by Vernon Lee. 

ip.) The Abbe Vogler lived from 1749 to 1S14, and was the master 
of great musicians, including Von Weber and Meyerbeer. It is fit- 
ting that he should have been taken as the type of a great extem- 
porizer, since none of his work survives. The beauty and meaning 
of the poem do not depend in the least on historical associations 
connected with the name. 



1. By the Fireside. M. and W. {a) 

2. In Three Days. M. and W. 

3. One Word More. M. and W. {b.) 

4. O Lyric Love. R. and B. Book L, lines 1 391 to 

1416; Book XII., lines %6^ to 870. (c) 

5. Apparitions. The Prologue to Two Poets of 

Croisic. Ag. 

6. Never the Time or the Place. J. 

7. Wanting — is What? J. 

8. A Wall. Prologue to Pacchiarotto. 

{a) These are the poems generally accepted as written directly to 
Mrs. Browning. Notice in " By the Fireside " the poet's plan for 
work to be done some time in Greek literature, which he has since 
carried out. 


(3.) This form of blank verse which the poet uses here, " the first 
time and the last time," is so musical that one never misses the rhyme. 
Bice is a common abbreviation for Beatrice. 

(c.) With this invocation in mind, it is interesting to study all the 
prologues and epilogues of the books Browning has published since. 


Love —Mutual Love. 

1. Meeting at Night, D. P. 

2. Parting at Morning. D. P. 

3. Love Among the Ruins„ M. and W. 

4. Mesmerism. M. and W. 

^. A Lover's Quarrel. M. and W. 

Ve. The Flower's Name, D. P. 

7. Respectability. M. and W. 

8. In a Gondola. D. P. (^.) 

(a.) This poem was suggested by a picture of Maclise. 


L Love — Self Renunciation. 

v/ I. The Lost Mistress. D. P. 

2. The Last Ride Together. M. and W. 

3. A Serenade at the Villa. M. and W. 

IL Love— Unsatisfied. 

1. Tw^o in the Campagna. M. and W. 

2. A Pretty Woman. M. and W. 

3. Youth and Art. D. P. 

4. St, Martin's Summer, Pac, 



Love— The Woman's Side. 

1. Ill a Year. M. and W. 

2. A Woman's Last Word. M. and W. 

3. Any Wife to Any Husband. M. and W. 

4. James Lee's Wife. D. P. {a^ 

(a.) The wife speaks throughovit. This poem is interesting in rep- 
resenting different periods in the poet's life and power. The song in 
Part VI, was written by Browning in 1S36 — the poem itself pubHshed 
in 1864; important additions made in Part VIII. in 1872, not in 
American edition, found in Crowell's "Red Line" selections, and 
in L. Br. S. Papers, Part I., p. 59. 

XIL . 

Love— On One Side. 

1. Rudel to tiie Lady of Tripoli. D. P. (a.) 

2. Cristina. D. P. {b) 

3. Mary Wollstonecraft and Fuseli. J. 

4. A Likeness. D. P. 

5. Numpholeptos. Pac. 

((2.) Rudel was a troubadour of the twelfth century, and it is 
related in " Tales of the Troubadours " that he loved the Lady of 

(<5.) This was meant for a young man who fell in love with Queen 
Cristina of Spain and became insane. — L. Br. S. Papers. 


Love — Incomplete. 

1. Tiie Statue and the Bust. M. and W. {a) 

2. The Worst of it. D. P, 

3. Too Late. D. P. 


4. Dis Alitur Visum. Le Byron de Nos Jours. D. P. 

5. Bifurcation. Pac. 

6. Appearances. Pac. 

7. Confessions. D. P. 

(a.) The Bust was invented by Browning. The Statue is that of 
the " Great-Duke Ferdinand " in the square of the Santissima Annun- 
ziata in Florence. According to tradition, the duke loved a lady who 
lived in the Riccardi Palace, at one corner of the square, whom he 
could see only at her window, and that he had his statue placed where 
it would look in that direction. Browning tells us that the bust was 
executed in della Robia ware. Specimens of this work adorn the 
cornice of the palace. 

" The crime alluded to in the poem as darkening the Medici palace, 
and casting its shadow on the adjacent street, was the murder of 
Alexander, Duke of Florence, in 1836." — Airs Orr. 

This is written in the Italian terza rima, and is a good illustration 
of Browning's facility in difficult meters. 


Love— Tragedy. 

^i. Porphyria's Lover. D. P. 

2. Martin Relph. Ag. 

3. A Forgiveness. Pac. {a.) 
v^. The Laboratory. D. P. 
v/5. The Confessional. 

6. Cristina and Monaldeschi. {b.) 

{a.) Mr. Browning owns a collection of "arms of eastern workman- 
ship," just such as is described here. 

{b.) An interesting description of Queen Cristina may be found in 
" Madame de Sevigne and her Contemporaries," by Mile, de Mont- 
pensier. Avon is the village on the east side of the park of Fontaine- 
bleau. Monaldeschi was buried in its little church. 




I. In a Balcony. M. and W. 

Give special attention to the different character-studies. Constance 
and the Queen are among the most subtile characters in Browning. 

Love Lyrics. 

1. Misconceptions. M. and W. 

2. My Star. M. and W, 

3. Love in a Life. M. and W. 

4. Life in a Love. M. and W. 

5. One Way of Love. M. and W. 

6. Another Way of Love. M. and W. 

7. Women and Roses. M. and W. 

8. Natural Magic. Pac. 

9. Magical Nature. Pac. 

10. Song. D. P. 

11. Earth's Immortalities, II. Love. D. P, 

Jewish Poems. 

1. Holy Cross Day. M. and W. 

2. Filippo Baldinucci on the Privilege of Burial. 

Pac. {a) 

3. JocHanan Hakkadosh. J. (<^.) 

(a.) " Filippo Baldinucci was the author of a history of art, and the 
incident which Mr. Browniog relates as a reminiscence of A. D. 1670, 
appears there in a notice of the life of the painter Buti." — Mrs. Orr. 

{b) In the note at the conclusion of the poem "Mr. Browning pro- 
fesses to rest his narrative on a Rabbinical work, of which the title, 
given b^- him in Hebrew, means ' Collection of many lies ; ' and he 


adds, bj way of supplement, three sonnets, supposed to illustrate the 
equally fictitious proverb ' From Moses to Moses, never was one like 
Moses,' and embodj^ing as many fables of wildly increasing audacity. 
The main story is nevertheless justified by traditional Jewish belief." 

"The three days' survival of the 'Ruach' or spirit allowed to 
departed saints, is aTalmudic doctrine still held among the Jews. 

" The ' Helaphta ' was a noted Rabbi, The ' Bier ' and the ' Three 
Daughters' was a received Jewish name for the constellation of the 
Great Bear. The ' Salem ' is the mystical New Jerusalem to be built 
of the spirits of the great and good." — Mrs. Orr. 


Early Christian Poems. 

1. Cleon. M. and W. (^.) 

2. An Epistle. M. and W. 

3. A Death in the Desert. D. P. (3.) 

(«.) The line from the address of Paul to the Athenians — Acts 
xvii., 28 — indicates that Cleon is supposed to be one of those Greek 
poets, living at the very time Paul is preaching the doctrine of the 
resurrection of the dead. 

{b!) " This is the record of an imaginary last scene in the life of 
St. John It is conceived in perfect harmony with the facts of the 
case; the great age which the Evangelist attained; the mystery 
Avhich shrouded his death ; the persecutions which had overtaken the 
church ; the heresies which already threatened to disturb it ; but Mr. 
Browning has given to his St. John a fore-knowledge of that age of 
philosophic doubt in which its very foundations would be shaken." — 
Mrs. Orr. 

This poem was the poet's contribution to the discussion that was 
aroused by the appearance of Strauss's " Life of Jesus." 

XIX. V. 

other ReHgious Poems. 

I. The Heretic's Tragedy; a Middle- Age Interlude. 
M. and W. («.) 


2. Johannes Agricola in Meditation. D. P. (3.) 

3. Christmas Eve. D. P. 

4. Easter Day. D. P. 

5. Fears and Scruples. Pac. 

6. Epilogue to Dramatis Personae. 

(a.) "This heretic is Jacques du Bourg.Molay, last Grand Master of 
the Order of Knights Templar, against whom preposterous accusa- 
tions had been brought. This Jacques, whom the speaker erroneously 
calls 'John,' and who might stand for any victim of middle-age 
fanaticism, was burned in Paris in 1314; and the 'Interlude,' we are 
told, ' would seem to be a reminiscence of this event, as distorted by 
two centuries of refraction from Flemish brain to brain.'" — Mrs. Orr. 

{b.) " The speaker, Johannes Agricola, was a German reformer of 
the sixteenth century, and alleged founder of the sect of the Anti- 
nomians; a class of Christians who extended the Low Church doc- 
trine of the insufficiency of good works, and declared the children of 
God to be exempt from the necessity of performing them."--il/r*. Orr. 


other Religious Poems. 

1. Caliban. 

2. Saul, (a.) 

{a.) Compare the fifth stanza with Matthew Arnold's " Empedocles 
on yEtna," especially for the description of the effect of music on 
disordered mental conditions. 


Death and Immortality. 

^ I. Prospice. D. P. {a.) 

2. Apparent Failure. D. P. {b.) 

3. Pisgah Sights. Pac. {c.) 

4. La Saisiaz. Ag. (d.) 


»^5. Evelyn Hope. M. and W. 
v/6. Rabbi Ben Ezra. D. P. {e.) 
7. Jochanan Hakkadosh. 

(a.) This is one of the " E. B. B." poems. Compare Avith Pope's 
"Dying Christian," and Bryant's " Thanatopsis/' 

(^.) " Mr. Browning's verdict on three drowned men, whose bodies 
he saw exposed at the morgue in Paris, in the summer of 1856." 
— Mrs. Orr. 

(c.) These can hardly be called poems of death, or immortality. 
They belong at least to that class, where death is the interpreter of 

{d.) "A. E S. were the initials of Miss Anne Egerton Smith, the 
proprietress of the Liverpool Mercury^ who was at La Saisiaz with 
Browning and his sister, and whose sudden death gave rise to the 
poem." — L. Br. S. PaJ>ers. 

" La Saisiaz" is Savoyard for " The Sun," and is the name of a 
villa among the mountains near Geneva. 

(<?.) Rabbi Ben Ezra was one of the four great philosophers or 
Lights of the Jews in the middle ages, and lived from 1092 to 1167. 
He was born in Toledo, Spain, bvxt traveled through many lands, 
including England. He believed in a future life. This poem, though 
put into the mouth of the Jewish teacher, is too great to be classed 
among the Jewish poems. It has been said to contain " the whole 
philosophy of life." Compare the potter's song with Longfellow's 
" Keramos," and the " Rubaiyat" of Omar Khayam. 



^ I. Childe Roland. M. and W. (a.) 

2. The Flight of the Duchess. D. P. 

3. The Glove. D. P. 

4. Count Gismond. D. P. 

5. The Italian in England. D. P. {b,) 

6. Protus. M. and W. 

7. Gold Hair. D. P. {c.) 


(a.) "All Browning's great and peculiar qualities as a poet,,lind 
their fullest and most perfect expression in Childe Roland, which, as 
a feat of the imagination, surpasses in creative power, in range of 
thought and feeling, in vividness and dramatic interest any poem of 
its kind, which has been written since ' Cristabel ' and ' The Ancient 
Mariner.' It is like these in its seeming supernatural aspect — I saj 
seeming, because there is nothing in Childe Roland above and beyond 
nature if we start with the poet at the starting point, which is found 
near the end of the poem. The origin of the line from Shakespeare 
is found in no known ballad or poem, but it is probably from a lost 
part of 'Childe Rowland and Burd Helen.' The coming to the dark 
tower is not the beginning but the end of the story. The hero who 
reaches that goal and boldly asserts himself has won the crown — his 
very presence there is victory. These thirty-four stanzas have the 
substance of a poem or drama of large proportions." — Richard Gratit 

(a.) This poem was written in one day, 

(d.) A fragment of an imaginary chronicle. 

(c.) This story may be read in Pornic guide books. 



1. Halbert and Hob. Ag. 

2. Ned Bratts. Ag. {a.) 

3. Pietro of Abano. (6.) 

4. Ivan Ivanovitch. 

5. Muleykeh. 

6. Donald. J. 

(a.) The main facts of this narrative are true, and related in a book 
by John Bunyan, as having happened in Hertford. " Mr. Browning 
has turned Hertford into Bedford ; made the time of the occurrence 
coincide with that of Bunyan's imprisonment there; and supposed 
the evident conversion of this man and woman to be among the many 
which he effected." — Mrs. Orr. 


{b.) " Pietro, of Abano, was an Italian physician and alchemist, 
born at Abano, near Paduain, 1246, died about 1320. He is said to 
have studied Greek at Constantinople, mathematics at Padua, and to 
have been made a doctor of medicine and philosophy at Paris. He 
then returned to Padua, where he was professor of medicine and fol- 
lowed the Arabian physicians, especially Averrhoes. He got a great 
reputation and charged enormous fees He hated milk and cheese, 
and'swooned at the sight of them. His enemies, jealous of his re- 
nown and wealth, denounced him to the Inquisition as a magician. 
They accused him of possessing the Philosopher's Stone, and of mak- 
ing, with the devil's hel]), all money come back to his purse. His 
trial was begun, and, had he not died naturally in time, he would have 
been burnt. The Inquisitors ordered his body to be burned, and as a 
friend had taken that away, they had his portrait publicly burned by 
the executioner. In 1560 a Latin epitaph in his memory was put up 
in the church of St. Augustin. The Duke of Urbino set his statue 
among those of illustrious men, and the Senate of Padua put one on 
the gate of its palace." — L. Br. S, Papers. 



1. Waring. D. P. 

2. May and Death. D. P. {a.) 

3. Time's Revenges. D. P. 

•/ 4. A Light Woman. M, and W. 

{a.) " Surely the Polygonum Persicaria, or Spotted Persicaria, is 
the plant alluded to. It is a common weed with purple stains upon 
its rather large leaves; these spots varying in size and vividness of 
color, according to the nature of the soil where it grows. A legend 
attaches to this plant and attributes these stains to the blood of Christ 
having fallen on its leaves, growmg below the cross." — L. Br. S. 

This poem was a personal utterance, called forth by the death of a 
relative whom Mr, Browning dearly loved. 



Hate and Revenge. 

1. Installs Tyrannus. M. and W, {a). 

2. Before. M. and W. 

3. After. M. and W. 

4. Soliloquy of a Spanish Cloister. 

(«.) " The 'present tyrant,' suggested by some words in Horace, 8th 
Ode, Book II. This is the confession of a king who has been possessed 
by an unreasoning and uncontrolled hatred of one man." — Mrs. Orr. 


Poems of Humour. 

1. Up at a Villa — Dov/n in the City. M. and W. 

2. Sibrandiis Schafnaburgensis. D. P 

3. Doctor . Ag. («.) 

4. Pacchiarotto. (3.) 

5. Solomon and Balkis. J. (c.) 

6. Adam, Lilith and Eve. J. 

7. Pambo. J. (^.) 

{a.) An old Hebrew legend, founded upon the saying that a bad 
wife is stronger than death. Satan complains in his character of 
death, that man has the advantage of him, since he may baffle him, 
whenever he will, by the aid of a bad woman. He undertakes to 
show this in his own person. 

(^.) A painter of Siena, generally confounded with Girolamo del 
Pacchia. These incidents in the poem are historical, and related in 

(c.) The Talmudic version of the dialogue between Solomon and 
the queen of Sheba. The ring bore the Supreme name and com- 
pelled the person towards whom it was turned, to speak the truth. 


{d.) The name of Pambo or Pambus is known to literature as that 
of a foolish person, who spent months, Mr. Browning says years, in 
the pondering a simple passage from Psalm 39. 


National and Political Feeling. 

1. Cavalier Tunes. D. P. 

2. De Gustibus. M. and W. 

3. Home Thoughts from Abroad. D. P. 

4. Home Thoughts from the Sea. D, P. {a.) 

5. The Italian in England. D. P. 

6. The Englishman in Italy. D. P. 

7. Through the Metidja to Abd-el-Kadr. D. P. {b.) 

{a.) " Here and here " is said to refer to the battles of Cape St. 
Vincent (1796) and Trafalgar (1805), and perhaps to the defence of 
Gibraltar (1 7S2). 

{b.) This represents a follower of Abd-el-Kadr hastening through 
the desert to join his chief. 


Poems of the Renaissance. 

^y I. The Bishop Orders His Tomb. D. P. (a.) 

2. My Last Duchess. D. P. 

3. The Grammarian's Funeral. M. and W. 

(a.) The Bishop's tomb is entirely fictitious, but something which 
is made to stand for it is shown to credulous sight-seers in St. Praxed's 
Church at Rome. 

See " Browning and the Critics," page 43. 



Unclassified Poems. 

1. Shop. Pac. 

2. Epilogue to Two Poets of Croisic. Ag, 

3. Earth's Immortahties; Fame. D. P. 
^ 4. Ceiiciaja. F. («.) 

5. Prologue and Epilogue to Fifine. 

(a.) "Cenciaja" signifies matter relating to the Cenci; the word is 
also a pun on the meaning of the plural noun Cenci, rags or old rags. 
The cry of this, frequent in Rome, was at first mistaken bv Shelley for 
a voice urging him to goon with his play. Mr. Browning has used it 
to indicate the comparative unimportance of his contribution to the 
Cenci story. The quoted Italian proverb means something to the 
same effect, that every trifle will press in for notice among worthier 
matters The poem describes an inciderit extraneous to the Cenci 
tragedy, but which strongly influenced its course. 


Special Pleadings. 

1. Bishop Blougram's Apology. M. and W. (a.) 

2. Mr. Sludge the Medium. D. P. (3.) 

3. Prince Hohenstiel Schwangau. F. (c.) 

(tz.) The original of this poem was Cardinal Wiseman. It is said 
that the cardinal reviewed very good naturedly this poem in the 
" Rambler," a Romanist journal. 

ib.) Home, the spiritualist, was the original of Sludge. 

(c.) A defence of the doctrine of expediency, and the monologue 
is supposed to be carried on by the late emperor of the French. 
Hohen-Schwangau is one of the castles of the King of Bavaria. The 
"grim guardian of the square" refers to the statue of George First 
on horseback. 



From Classic Sources. 

I. Pan and Luna. Ag. {a^ 

3. Artemis Prologuizes. D. P. {b^ 

3, Ixion. J. 

(a) This mythical adventure of Luna, the moon, is described by 
Virgil in the Georgics. The text is taken from the Georgics, " If it 
is worthy of belief." 

(<5.) " This was suggested hy the Hippolytos of Euripides and des- 
tined to become partof a larger poem, which should continue its story, 
Hippolytos perishing through the anger of Venus, was revived by 
Artemis (Diana), and afterwards fell in love with one of her nymphs. 
Aricia. Mr. Browning imagines that she has removed him in secret 
to her own forest retreat and is nursing him back to life by the help 
of Esculapius, and the poem is a monologue in which sh - describes 
what has passed since Phaedra's self-betrayal to the present time. 
Hippolytos still lies unconscious, but the power of the gi-eat healer 
has been brought to bear on him, and the unconsciousness seems only 
that of sleep. The ensuing chorus of nymphs, the awakening of 
Hippolytos, and with it the stir of the new passion with him, had 
already taken shape in Mr. Browning's mind. Unfortunately some- 
thing put the inspiration to flight, and it did not return." — Mrs. Orr. 


Baiaustion's Adventure. 

This is a transcription of one of the plays of Euripides, placed 
in an original setting. Balaustion herself is one of the freshest and 
most lyrical of Browning's creations. 

"Balaustion is a Rhodian girl, brought up in the worship of Eu- 
ripides. The Peloponnesian war has entered upon its second stage, 
the Athenian fleet has been defeated at Syracuse, and Rhodes, resent- 
ing this disgrace, has determined to take part against Athens, and 
joins the Peloponnesian league. But Balaustion will not forsake the 
mother city and persuades her kinsmen to migrate with her to it. 


Thej take ship at Kaunus, but the wind turns them from their course 
and when it abates they find themselves in strange waters, pursued 
by a pirate bark. They fly before it towards what they hope will prove 
a friendly shore, Balaustion heartening the rowers by a song from 
^^schylus, sung at the battle of Salamis, and run into the hostile 
harbor of Syracuse, where shelter is denied them." — Mrs. Orr. 

Balaustion means "wild pomegranate flower," and the girl has bee A 
so called on account of her lyric gifts. 

The lines beginning " I know too a great Kaunian painter," refer 
to a picture by F. Leighton, called " Hercules wrestling with Death 
for the body of Alkestis," an engraving of which has been published 
by the London Browning Society. 

Aristophanes' Apology. 

" In point of circumstance, a sequel to Balaustion's Adventure. 
Both turn on the historical fact that Euripides was reverenced far 
more by the non-Athenian Greeks than by the Athenians. Both 
contain a transcript from him." — Mrs. Orr. 



Asa literal translation of one of the most difficult of the ancient 
Greek tragedies. Browning's Agamemnon deserves careful study in 
connection with other translations of the same work, but may be very 
properly omitted from a regular Browning course. 


Dramas — Strafford. 

This was written at a request of Macready and brought out by him 
at the Covent Garden Theatre in 1837. "Write me a play. Browning, 
and keep me from going to America." Browning calls this a play 
representing action in character, rather than character inaction. The 
portraits in the play are historical with the exception of Lady Car- 


lisle, which is purely imaginary. The Italian boat song in the last 
scene is from Redi's Bacco, translated by Leigh Hunt. " Strafford" 
has been edited with notes by Miss Hickey, with special reference to 
school and club study, and published in a small volume by itself. 

Dramas — Pippa Passes. 

This drama illustrates the unconscious influence which a little silk- 
weaver, strolling happily along the country lanes during her brief 
lioliday, exerts upon the character and actions of those who only 
hear her songs., The song, beginning " Give her but a least excuse to 
love me," refers to Catherine Cornaro, the Venetian queen of Cyprus, 
and is the onlv one of the songs which is based on any fact. 


Dramas — Luria. 

This is supposed to be an episode in the struggles between Florence 
and Pisa. 

" Luria is grave and somewhat remote; it simply represents Duty 
triumphing in the midst of intrigue, and with no motive beyond 
duty's self. The conception is grand, the result impressive — but it is a 
lesson; the * Blot in the Scutcheon is an experience." — JoJni Weiss. 

It is interesting to note in connection with the passage where the 
secretary refers to the charcoal sketch of a Moorish front for the 
unfinished Duomo, that recently such a sketch has been actually 
found in the small museum, Opera del Duomo, at Florence. Brown- 
ing did not know of its existence. 

Dramas— Blot in the Scutcheon. 

First produced at the Theatre Royal in 1S53. Dickens said of this 
play, that he would rather have written it than any work of modern 



Dramas—Colombe's Birthday. 

'' Colombe of Ravestein is ostensibly duchess of Juliers and Cleves, 
but her title is neutralized by the Salic law under which the duchy is 
held; and though the duke, her late father, has wished to evade it in 
her behalf, those about her are aware that he had no power to do so, 
and that the legal claimant, her cousin, may at any moment assert 
his rights. This happens on the first anniversary of her accession, 
which is also her birthday," — Airs. Orr. 

Dramas — Paracelsus. 

A dramatic poem in which the principal character is the celebrated 
empiric and alchemist of the sixteenth century. It has been pro- 
nounced by Weiss and others to be the loftiest effort of Browning's 
genius. Weiss says " We must not take Paracelsus as a drama, but a 
meditative poem too grave to entertain a reminiscence of the theatre.' 

Dramas — King Victor and King Charles. 

The story of this drama is historical, and can be found in a numoer 
of the histories of this period. Browning's justification of his own 
view of the characters is found in the preface to the play. 

Dramas— A Soul's Tragedy. 

Dramas — The Return of the Druses. 

•' The Druses of Lebanon are a compound of several Eastern tribes, 
owing their religious system to a Caliph of Egypt, Hakeen Biamr 


Allah, and probably their name to his confessor, Darazi, who first 
attempted to promulgate his doctrine among them ; some also impute 
to the Druse nation a dash of the blood of the Crusaders. One of 
their chief religious doctrines was that of divine incarnations. It 
seems to have originated in the pretension of Hakeem to be himself 
one; and as organized by the Persian mystic, Hamzi, his vizier and 
disciple, it included ten manifestations of this kind, of which Hakeem 
must have formed the last. Mr. Browning has assumed that in any 
great national emergency the miracle would be expected to recur, 
and he has here conceived an emergency sufficiently great to call it 
forth," — Mrs. Orr. 


" This poem is, as its title declares, a fragment of a confession. The 
speaker is a man, probably still young*, and Pauline, the name of the 
lady who receives the confession and is supposed to edit it. It is not, 
however, ' fragmentary ' in the sense of revealing only a small part 
of the speaker's life, or of onlv recording isolated acts from which 
the life may be built up. Its fragmentary character lies in this : that 
while very explicit as a record of feeling and motive, it is entirely 
vague in respect to acts. It is an elaborate retrospect of successive 
mental states big with the sense of corresponding misdeeds. An 
ultra-consciousness of self is in fact the key-note of the entire mental 
situation. [The life of Pauline's lover has not been wholly misspent, 
but his ultimate object has been always the gratification of self] 
We leave him at the close of his confession, exhausted by the 
mental fever, but released from it — new-born to a better life ; though 
how and why this has happened is again part of the mystery of the 
case. 'Pauline ' is the one of Browning's longer poems, of which no 
intelligible abstract is possible : a circumstance the more striking, in 
that it is perfectly transparent as well as truly poetical so far as its 
language is concerned. * * * 

*' The defects and difficulties of Pauline are plainly admitted in an 
editor's note written in French and signed by this name : and which, 
proceeding as it does from the author himself, supplies a valuable 
comment on the work. * * * 

" ' Pauline ' did not take its place among the author's collected works 


until 1867, when the uniform edition of them appeared; and he then 
introduced it by a preface, in which he declared his unwillingness to 
publish such a boyish production, and gave the reasons which 
induced him to do so. The poem is boyish, or at all events youthful, 
in poitit of conception ; and we need not wonder that its intellectual 
crudeness should have outweighed its finished poetic beauties in the 
author's mind.. It contains, however, one piece of mental portraiture, 
which, with slight modifications, might have stood for Mr. Browning 
when he re-edited the work as it clearly did when he wrote it. It 
begins thus : ' I am made up of an intensest life.' The tribute to 
the saving power of imagination is also characteristic of his mature 
mind, though expressed in an ambiguous manner. It is interesting 
to know that in the line ' The king treading the purple calmly to his 
death,' he was thinking of Agamemnon, as this shows how early 
his love of classic literature began. The allusion to Plato largely 
confirms this impression. The feeling for music asserts itself, though 
in a less spiritual form than it assumes in his later works. The most 
striking piece of true biography which ' Pauline ' contains, is its evi- 
dence of the young writer's reverent affection for Shelley, whom he 
idealizes under the name of Sun-treader. An invocation to his 
memory occupies three pages, beginning with the eighth, and is 
renewed at the end of the poem. * * * The curious Latin quotation of 
the preface is from the works of Cornelius Agrippa, a well-known 
professor of occult philosophy, and is indeed introductory to a 
treatise upon it, * * * The Andromeda described as ' with the 
speaker,' is that of Caravaggio, of which Mr. Browning possesses an 
engraving which was always before his eyes as he wrote his earlier 
poems." — Mrs. Orr. 


The Red Cotton Nightcap Country. 

" The real life drama, which !Mr. Browning has reproduced under 
this title, was enacted partly in Paris and partly in a retired corner of 
Normandy, where he spent the late summer of 1872 ; and ended in a 
trial which had been only a fortnight closed, when he supposed him. 
self to be relating it. His whole story is true, except that in it which 
reality itself must have left to the imagination." — Mrs. Orr. 


" It is the story of Mellario, the Paris jeweler, and was studied at 
the place of his ending, St. Aubin in Normandy, from the law papers 
used in the suit concerning his will. It was put in type with all the 
true names of persons and things; but, on a proof being submitted 
bj Brov;ning to his frier.d, Lord Coleridge, then littorney-general, 
the latter thought that an action for libel might lie for what was said 
in the poetn, however unlikely it was that such procedure would be 
taken. Thereupon fictitious names were substituted." — L. Br. S. 

The possible friend and adviser, to whom Miranda is referred, was 
M.Joseph Milsand, who always at that time passed the bathing sea- 
son at St. Aubin. 

Fifine at the Fair. 



The Inn Album. 

This poem is, in the main outlines, a true story, that of Lord de 
Ros, once a friend of the great Duke of Wellington and about whom 
there is much in the Greville memoirs. The story made a great sensa- 
tion in London over thirty years ago. 


The Ring and the Book. 

Note. — Experience would indicate that the most effective way of 
studying the last two is to assign the lesson beforehand, which in the 
case of " The Ring and the Book " may reasonably cover a book ; this 


to be carefully studied by each individual at home; then, when they 
come together, to compare notes, and each contribute his mite to the 
general whole in some such order as follows: — 

1. Tell the Story. 

2. Its relation to the preceding lessons. 

3. What new elements introduced into the story by 

this lesson. 

4. What chief moral lesson found by each. 

5. Noblest passages and quotable lines. 

6. Difficult passages. 

7. Out-of-the-way words and allusions. 

After such a study as this, then and only then will the club be pre- 
pared either to write or to listen to some papers upon general topics, 
including a range of tlie whole work. Only where classes are com- 
paratively small, of uniform grade of intelligence and socially familiar 
and congenial, is it wise to undertake to read in class. 


These short programmes are prepared for the use of 
those who have not the time or do not desire to make a 
complete study of Browning, but would like to gain some 
knowledge of his poems. It is impossible to prepare any 
partial list of these poems that is wholly representative of 
the poet and his best work, and it should be borne in mind 
that such lists are necessarily subject to the particular men- 
tal bias and preference of the individual preparing them, 
and are thus fit matter for the revision of any other student 
of Browning. For notes on the poems, see full classifi- 

With regard to the classification of Browning's poems, it 
should be said that all classifications are more or less arbi- 
trary, and that most of the poems fall naturally into more 


than one group. The reader need not therefore be sur- 
prised at finding certain poems placed under different heads 
in the three programmes. 



Love Poems. 

1. Wedded Love. 

One Word More. 

A Woman's Last Word. 

Any Wile to Any Husband. 

2. Love and Tragedy. 
The Last Ride Together. 
Youth and Art. 

The Laboratory. 

3. Love Lyrics. 
Meeting at Night. 
Parting at Morning. 
One Way of Love. 
Another Way of Love. 
Love Among the Ruins, 
Natural Magic, Masfical Nature. 
Never the Time and the Place. 

Two in the Campagna. 
By the Fireside. 
A Lover's Quarrel. 

The Confessional. 
In a Balcony. 
James Lee's Wife. 

My Star. 
Love in a Life. 
Life in a Love. 
In Three Days. 
In a Year. 
The Worst of it. 
Too Late. ^ 


Poems on Art. 

Andrea del Sarto. v 
Fra Lippo Lippi. 
Old Pictures in Florence. 
The Guardian Angel. 
Pictor Ignotus. 



Poems on Music. 

A Toccato of Galuppi's. 
Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha. 
Abt Vogler. 


Poems Illustrating Browning's Ideas of the Poetic 


How it Strikes a Contemporar}-. 



Epilogue, " The Poets Give Us Wine." 

At the Mermaid. 


Poems of Early Christian Art. 

The Epistle. 
Death in the Desert. 


Poems of Immortality and Religious Life. 

La Saisiaz. 
Christmas Eve. 
Easter Day. , 
Evelyn Hope. ^ 
May and Death. 
Prospice. J , 

Rabbi Ben Ezra. 



Other Religious Poems. 

Caliban on Setebos. 


Heroes and Heroines. 

The Patriot. ^ 

Herv^ Riel. v 


Incident of the French Camp. ^ 

The Lost Leader. 


Jewish Life and Character. 
Holy Cross Day. 
Jochanan Hakkadosh. 
Burial Privilege of Biitdinucci. 



[Only a few of the most striking- short poems have been placed under this head 
which IS descriptive in a certain sense of all that Browning ever wrote.] 

Ned Bratts. 

Halbert and Hob. 

Martin Relph. 

Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister. 

Gold Hair. 

A Light Woman. 

The Statue and the Bust. 



This programme is made up of some of the long single 
poems and a few of the dramas, and necessarilv includes 
two or three mentioned in the foregoing programmes. 

I. Bishop Blougram's Apology. 


Caliban on Setebos. 




James Lee's Wife. 


In a Balcony. 


Fifine at the Fair. 


A Blot in the 'Scutcheon. 


Martin Relph. 


The Flight of the Duchess. 


Ivan Ivanovitch. 




A Soul's Tragedy. 


Pippa Passes. 






Born 1812, at Camberwell, England. 

1833. Pauline. 

1835. Paracelsus. 

1837. Strafford. 

1840. Sordello. 


1841. Pippa Passes. (Bells and Pomegranates, No. I.) 

1842. King Victor and King Charles. (B. and P. No. II. 

1842. Dramatic Lyrics. (B. and P. No. III.) 

Cavalier Tunes. 

Marching along. 

Give a Rouse. 

Mj Wife Gertrude. 
Italy and France. 

Italy; or, My Last Duchess. 

France ; or, Count Gismond. 
Camp and Cloister. 

Camp (French.) 

Cloister (Spanish.) 
In a Gondola. 
Artemis Prologuizes. 
Queen Worship. 

Rudel and the Lady of Tripoli. 

Mad-House Cell. 

Johannes Agricola. 

Through the Metidja. 
The Pied Piper of Hamelin. ^ 

1843. Return of the Druses. (B. and P. No. IV.) 

1843. A Blot in the 'Scutcheon. (B. and P. No. V.) 

1844. Colombe's Birthday. (B. and P. No. VI.) 
1844-5. Seven Poems in " Hood's Magazine." 

The Laboratory. 



Sibrandus Schnafnaburgensis. 

The Boy and the Angel. 

The Tomb at St. Praxed's, 

The Flight of the Duchess. 


I S45. Dramatic Romances and Lyrics. (B. and P. No.VII. 

How Thej Brought the Good News. 

Pictor Ignotus. 

Italy in England. 

England in Italy. 

The Lost Leader. ' 

The Lost Mistress. 

Home Thoughts from Abroad. 

The Confessional, 

Earth's Immortalities. 

Song, " Nay, but you." 

Night and Morning. 


Time's Revenges. 

The Glove. 

"845. k"soul's Tragedy, } (B- -^ P. No. VTII.) 

1846. Married to Elizabeth Barrett. 

1849. Revised his printed poems. 

1850. Christmas Eve and Easter Day. 
1852. Prose Essay on Shelley. 

1855. ^^^ ^^^ Women. 

Series I . 

Love Among the Ruins, v A Pretty Woman. 

A Lover's Quarrel. Childe Roland. 

Evelyn Hope. Respectability. 

Up at a Villa — Down in the City. A Light Woman. 

A Woman's Last Word. The Statue and the Bust. 

Fra Lippo Lippi. Love in a Life. 

A Toccata of Galluppi's. Life in a Love. 

By the Fireside. Instans Tvrannus. 

Any Wife to Any Husband. My Star. 

An Epistle of Karshish. The Last Ride Together. 

A Serenade at the Villa. The Patriot. 

How it Strikes a Contemporary. Memorabilia. 

Master Hugues of Saxe Gotha. Mesmerism. 
Bishop Blougram's Apology. 


Series II. 

Andrea del Sarto. Before. 

After. In Three Days. 

In a Year. Old Pictures in Florence. 

In a Balcony. Saul. 

De Gustibus. Women and Roses. 

Protus. Holy-Cross Day. 

The Guardian Angel. Cleon. 

The Twins. Popularity. 

The Heretic's Tragedy. Two in the Campagna. 

A Grammarian's Funeral. One Way of Love. 

Another Way of Love. Transcendentalism. 

Misconceptions. One Word More. 

1 86 1. Death of Mrs. Browning. 
1864. Dramatis Personae. 

James Lee. 

Gold Hair. 

The Worst of It. 

Dis Aliter Visum. 

Too Late. 

Abt Vogler. 

Rabbi Ben Ezra. 

A Death in the Desert. 

Caliban Upon Setebos. 



Youth and Art. 

A Face. 

A Likeness. 

Mr. Sludge. 

Apparent Failure. 


1868-9. The Ring and the Book. 

1871. Herv^ Riel. 

1871. Balaustion's Adventure. 

1871. Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau. 


1872. Fifine at the Fair. 

1873. Red Cotton Night- Cap Country. 

1875. Aristophanes' Apology. 
1S75. The Imx Album. 

1876. Pacchiarotto and Other Poems. 

t Pacchiarotto. 

At the Mermaid. 



Pisgah Sights, I and II. 

Fears and Scruples. 

Natural Magic. 

Magical Nature. 




St. Martin's Summer. 

A Forgiveness. 


Filippo Baldinucci. 


1877. Agamemnon. 
187S. La Saisiaz. 

The Two Poets of Croisic. 
1880. Dramatic Idyls. 

Series I. 
Martin Relph. Pheidippides. 

Halbertand Hob. Ivan Ivanovitch. 

Tray. Ned Bratts. 

Series IE 
Proem. Echetlos. 
Clive. Muleykeh. 
Pietro of Abano. Doctor . 

Pan and Luna. Epilogue, 


1883. Jocoseria. 

Wanting is — What? 

Solomon and Balkis. 
,^, Cristina and Monaldeschi. 
^, Mary Wolstonecroft and Fuseli. 
^^ Adam, Lilith and Eve. 

Jochanan Hakkadosh. 
\^' Never the Time and the Place. 
V.,'' Pambo. 
, 1885. Ferishtah's Fancies. 


Richard Grant White's saying, that the way to read 
Shakespeare is to read him, is good advice and applicable 
to the one who would make a study of Robert Browning. 
Most of the critical studies published are found m maga- 
zines and reviews, a full list of which may be found in 
Poole's Index. Among the available books that may be 
of use are the following: 

Browning Society Papers. See page 41. 

Handbook to the Works of Robert Browning, by Mrs. Sutherland 

Stories from Robert Browning, by Frederic May Holland. 

See also the essays on Browning in "Obiter Dicta," Stedman's "Vic- 
torian Poets," George W. Cooke's " Poets and Problems " and Pro- 
fessor Dowden's " Studies in Literature." 


The so-called Browning movement was inaugurated by 
the organization of the London Browning Society in July, 
1 88 1, and includes men of the highest rank and scholarship 
among its members. Through its publications and other 
activities it has done much effective work in awakening an 
interest in these writings and encouraging organizations for 
their study. Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 3939 Langley avenue, 
Chicago, is the local Honorary Secretary of this society. 

In Prof. Corson, of Cornell University, organized 

a Browning Society at Ithaca, N. Y. Prof. Levi Thaxter 
previous to this time had had various classes for the study 
of Robert Browning in and around Boston. In Novem- 
ber, 1S82, the first Browning club was organized in Chi- 
cago, which in four years' work has included in its study 
all his writings. From this club, more or less directly, 
seven or eight other circles have sprung up in the city and 
vicinity, and perhaps as many more in other cities through- 
out the west. On the fourteenth of April, 1886, the Chi- 
cago workers organized themselves into the Chicago 
Browning Society, for the purpose of mutual help and with 
the hope of encouraging wider study. The society will 
hold monthly meetings during winter months, and will 
from time to time publish such helps as its funds will war- 
rant, this pamphlet being the first of the series. See pro- 
gramme for this season, page 50. It has arranged with 
Charles H. Kerr & Co., 175 Dearborn street, to become its 
publishers. This firm is also agent for the London Society, 
and is prepared to fill any orders for Browning material. 
Correspondence solicited. 



The following " ten commandments" for the guidance 
of literary studies have been found helpful, and are here 
reprinted as a suggestion to new clubs. 

Aim to study, not to create, literature. 

Avoid red tape and parliamentary slang. 

Let but one talk at a time, and that one talk only of the matter in 

Start no side conferences : whispering is poor wisdom and bad man- 


Come prepared. Let the work be laid out systematically in deliber- 
ate courses of reading and study. 


Let papers be short. Beware of long quotations. " Brevity is the 
soul of wit." 

Be as willing to expose ignorance as to parade knowledge. 

Aim not to exhaust, but to open the theme. Incite curiosity. Pro- 
voke home reading. 


Begin and close to the minute. 

Meet all discouragements with grit and industry. Rise superior to 
numbers ; for the kingdom of culture, like the kingdom of God, 
comes without observation. 



If Browning has had his detractors he has also always 
had his admirers, men of genius and wide attainment like 
himself, who are quick to recognize in him one of the lead- 
ing and most prolific minds of the age. Such intelligent 
and generous commendation amply atones for the loss of 
popular applause. Below is a short list of extracts from 
leading critics, selected for the most part from the trial list 
of criticisms published in the Browning Society Papers, 
parts I and II. 

*' To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern that no shade of 
quality escapes it, and so quick to feel that discernment is but a hand 
playing with finely ordered variety on the chord of emotion, a soul in 
which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling 
flashes back as a new organ of knowledge." — George Eliot on Robert 

" It is some time since we read a work of more unequivocal power 
than ' Paracelsus.' We conclude that its author is a young man, as we 
do not recollect his having published before. If so, we may safely 
predict for him a brilliant career, * * * if he continues true to the 
promise of his genius. He possesses all the elements of a fine poet." 
— yokn Forster^ in Examiner, Sej>t., ^^35- 

"Without the slightest hesitation we name Robert Browning at 
once with Shelley, Coleridge and Wordsworth. * * * He has in 
himself all the elements of a great poet, philosophical as well as 
dramatic." — ibid, in Monthly Magazine, 183b. 

" By far the richest nature of our times." — y. R. Lovjell before the 
Bro^^vmng Society. 

" I would rather have written the " Blot in the 'Scutcheon " than 
any other work of modern times. There is no other man living who 
could produce such a work." — Charles Dickens. 




" Browning ! Since Chaucer was alive and hale, 
No man has walked along our road with step 
So active, so inquiring eje, or tongue 
So varied in discourse." 

— From Sonnet by W. S. Landor. 

" Everything Browningish is found here — the legal jauntiness, the 
knitted argumentation, the cunning prying into detail, the suppressed 
tenderness, the humanity, the salt intellectual humor. * * Whatever 
else may be said of Mr. Browning and his work by way of criticism, it 
will be admitted on all hands that noxvhere in literature can be found a 
man and a ivork more fascinating in their ivay. As for the man, he was 
crowned long ago, and we are not one of those who grumble because 
one king has a better seat than another, an easier cushion, a finer light 
in the great temple. A king is a king and each will choose his place." 
— Robert Buchanan on " The Ring and the Book^'' in Athenceum^ Dec. i86S. 

" Unerring in every sentence; always vital, right, profound. * * 
In a single poem, 'The Bishop Orders his Tomb,' Browning tells 
nearly all that I have said of the central Renaissance in thirty pages of 
* Stones of Venice.' " — RusUn. 

*' Now if there is any great quality more perceptible than another 
in Mr. Browning's intellect, it is his decisive and incisive quality of 
thought, his sureness and intensity of perception, his rapid and 
trenchant resolution of aim. To charge him with obscurity is about 
as correct as to call Lynceus purblind or to complain of the slowness 
of the telegraphic wires. He is something too much the reverse of 
obscure ; he is too brilliant and subtle for the ready reader of a ready 
writer to follow with any certainty the track of an intelligence which 
moves with such incessant rapidity." — A. C. Sivinburne^ in introduc- 
tion to 'works of George Chapna7i. 

" Of all writers since Dante we should speak of Browning as the 
poet of suffering, suffering on a great scale, though impelled and pas- 
sion-wrought." — Eclectic and Congregational Review^ Dec.^ 1868. 

" To blend a profound knowledge of human nature, a keen percep- 
tion of the awful problem of human destiny, with the conservation 
of a joyous human spirit, to know and not despair of them, to battle 
with one's spiritual foes and not be broken by them is given only to 
the very strong. This is to be a valiant and unvanquished soldier of 
humanity." — Edinburgh Review^ J^^^y-, ^S6g. 


" He is chiefly dear to the age because having been racked with its 
doubts, stretched upon the mental torture wheels of its despair, hav- 
ing sounded cynicism and pessimism to their depths, he sometimes 
firmly and sometimes faintly trusts the larger hope, but always, in the 
last analysis and residuum of theught, trusts. Coming from such a 
mind, such a buoyant message this vexed and storm-tossed age will 
not willingly let die." — H. R. Haiveis. 

" He is the intellectual phenomenon of the last half century, even 
if he is not the poetical aloe of modern English literature. His like 
we have never seen before. * * * In all true poetry the form of the 
thought is part of the thought, and never was this absolute law of 
literary aesthetics more flagrantly illustrated than in the poetry of Rob- 
ert Browning. To say that Browning is the greatest dramatic poet 
since Shakespeare is to say that he is the greatest poet, most excellent 
in what is the highest form of imaginative composition, because it is 
the most creative." — Richard Grant White. 

" In considering whether a poet is intelligible ard lucid we ought 
not to grope and grub about his work in search of obscurities and 
oddities, but should, in the first instance at all events, attempt to re- 
gard his whole scope and range, to form some estimate, if we can, of 
his general purport and effect, asking ourselves how are we the better 
for him, has he quickened any passion, lightened any burden, purified 
any taste, does he play any real part in our lives. ^ And if we are 
compelled to answer "Yes" to such questions, it is both folly and 
ingratitude to complain of obscurity." — Augustine Birrell in " Obiter 


The following papers and lectures; are probably available, with 
the necessary restrictions of time and place, to circles, classes or 
clubs or popular audiences interested in the study of Browning. 
Prof. Louis J. Block, of the Douglas school, Chicago, Rev. David 
Utter, 115 Twenty-third street, and Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 3939 Lang- 
ley avenue, have lectures on the general suljject of Browning and 
his writings. Mr. Utter also gives special interpretations and read- 
ings. Mr. Jones has special papers on *' Fifine at the Fair," " Christ- 
mas Eve and Easter Day," "A Soul's Tragedy," " The Religion of 
Browning," and will give conversations, help organize clubs, etc. 

Mrs. S- C. LI Jones, No. 3939 Langley avenue, has papers on 
*' Luria" and '• The Tragedies of Love." 

Mrs E T. Leonard, No. 175 Dearborn street, has papers on 
"Mildred Tresham," " Djabal" and "Browning's Measure of Life 
and his Standard of Success." 

Mrs. Emma E. Marean, No. 3619 Ellis avenue, has papers on 
"The Poet- pair," •* A Study of Clara" (in the " Red Cotton Night- 
Cap Country,") Ferishtah's Fancies," and '• Browning's Interpretation 
of the Poet's Mission." 

Miss Mary E. Burt, 3410 Rhodes avenue, has a paper on " Sor- 

Mrs Anna B McMahan, of Quincy, 111., gives lectures and 
interpretations of the writings of Robert Browning. 

James Colgrove, J34 Wabash avenue, has made a special study of 
'Old Pictures in Florence," and has a collection of illustrative 



The first club for the stu.iy of Robert Browning's writings was 
organized in Chicago in the autumn of 1SS2. This chib has con- 
tinued its systematic course of study of these writings for the last 
four years, and from this more or less directly have sprung seven or 
eight other circles in this city and immediate vicinity, and perhaps as 
many more in a like manner throughout the west. Believing that 
the time had come when these unrelated workers might profitably 
accomplish something in a co-operative way, a call was issued, 
signed by fifty ladies and gentlemen, most of them members of these 
Chicago Browning Circles, for a meeting to be held in the parlors of 
the Church of the Messiah, April 14, 18S6. Over a hundred persons 
were present. A paper was read on the v^ritings of R obert Browning 
by Prof. L. J. Block; readings were given by Mrs. F. W. Parker and 
David Utter, followed by a song from G. E. Dav/son, Esq ; after which 
the organization was perfected as below. 

The officers were instructed to arrange for the beginning of the 
active work of the society in the autumn of 1886. 


Article I. The name of this Association shall be the Chicago 
Browning Society. 

Article II. The object of this Society shall be to prom.ote the 
reading and study of Robert Browning's works, the publication of 
helps in such study, and other matters calculated to awaken a v.ider 
interest in this poet. 

Article III. Any person interested may become an annual 
member by the payment of two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50), the 
payment of which shall give each member the right to attend all 



regular meetings of the societj^ and to a copy of all the publications 
issued during the year. Any one may become a life member of this 
society by the payment at one time of twenty-five dollars ($25.00). 

Article IV. The officers of this society shall be a president; 
three vice-presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and nine other persons, 
forming an executive committee, three of which shall constitute 
a sub-committee on publication. These officers shall be elected 
annually, their duties shall be such as usually devolve upon such 
officers in similar societies ; they shall hold office until their successors 
are chosen, and the executive committee shall have power to fill 
vacancies in the committee, to call meetings, etc., and to them shall 
be entrusted the general management of the affairs of the society, 
provided a majority shall be necessary to form a quorum for the 
transaction of business. 

Article V. The Society shall hold at least four meetings in 
each 3'ear, the annual meeting being on the second Tuesday in April, 
at which time the annual dues must be paid. 

Article VI. This Constitution may be amended by a majority 
vote at any regular meeting, providing two months notice of the same 
be sent to each member through post-office, or otherwise. 


President — Jenkin Lloyd Jones. 

Vice-Prestdettts — Mrs. Wirt Dexter, Mrs. Wm. L. McCormick, 
Mrs. Celia P. Woolley. 

Seeretary — Mrs. Ellen Mitchell, 44 Sixteenth Street. 

Treasurer — Mrs. Reginald de Koven, 99 Pearson Street. 
David Utter, Louis J. Block, James Colegrove, 

Miss Grace T. Howe, Mrs. Potter Palmer, Mrs. Emma E. Marean, 
Mrs. H. A. Johnson, Mrs. A. N. Eddy, Mrs. F. S. Parker. 

Cotmnittee on Publication. 
Rev. David Utter, Mrs. Emma E, Marean, Mrs. C. P. Woolley. 



Mrs. Mary N. Adams, 
Miss Mary E. Burt, 
Mrs. Amanda N. Beiss, 
Mrs. H. J. Beckwith, 
Mrs. J. C. Brooks, 
Prof. L. J. Block, 
MissE. W. Brown, 
James Colegrove, 
Mrs. a. J . Caton, 
Mrs. John M. Clark, 
Miss L. M. Dunning, 
Mrs. Wirt Dexter, 
Mrs. Ruth B. Ewing, 
Mrs. a. N. Eddy, 
C. Norman Fay, 
Chas. a. Gregory, 
Mrs. Chas. A. Gregory, 
Robert J. Hendricks, 
Franklin H. Head, 
Mrs. John J. Herrick, 
Chas. D. Hamill, 
Mrs. Susan W. Hamill, 
Mrs. Ellen Henrotin, 
Miss Grace Howe, 
Miss May Henderson, 
Jenkin Lloyd Jones, 
Mrs. S. C. Lloyd Jones, 
Mrs. Frank Johnson, 
Mr. Hosmkr A.Johnson, 
Mr. John H. Jewett, 
Mrs. John H. Jewett, 
Charles H. Kerr, 
Mrs. E. W. Kohlsaat 

Reginald deKoven, 

Mrs. R. de Koven, 

Miss Susie King, 

William S. Lord, 

Miss Martha J . L oudon. 

Miss Mary' L. Lord, 

Miss Julia Leavens, 

C. P. Morgan, 

Mrs. Emma E. Marean, 

Mrs. Anna Morgan. 

Mrs. W. T. McCormick, 

Mrs. R. Hall McCormick, 

Mrs. Ellen Mitchell, 

Mrs. Franklin MacVeagh, 

Mr. Franklin MacVeagh, 

Mr. a. R. Parker, 

Mrs. F. S. Parker, 

Mr. F. W. Parker, 

Mrs. Alice H. Putnam, 

Mrs. Potter Palmer, 

Potter Palmer, 

Mrs. R. W. Patterson, jr., 

Mrs. D. F. Sellbridge, 

B. D. Slocum, 

Miss Helen D. Street, 

Miss Carrie Smith, 

Mrs a. T. Spalding, 

Mrs. a. N. Stevenson, 

Laura J. Tisdale, 

Rev. David Utter, 

Miss Jennie A. Willcox, 

Mrs. Celia P. "Woolley, 

Mrs J. M. Walker. 



The meetings of this Society Vvill be held the second Tuesday of 
each month at eight o'clock p. m., beginning in November and end- 
ing in May. Three of these will be public meetings, four for study 
and for members only. The following is the programme for the 
coming season. 


Introductory Meeting — paper by Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones. 


Subject to be announced. 

JANUARY (public). 

Reading of one of Browning's plays by members of the 


Browning's Interpretation of Old Age — paper by Prof. David 

MARCH (public). 

Dramatic Performance by members of the Society. 

Annual Meeting. 

Four papers on Ivan Ivanovitch — writers, Mrs. Dexter, Mrs. 
Mitchell, Mr. Head, Mr. Gilbert. 

Due notice of the place of meeting will be given. 

Applications for membership should be made to the Treasurer. 



two volumes, i6mo, $3.00. 

Many English drr.mas have been ^vrit- 
, ten within a iev: years, the authors of 
which h;ive established their claim to 
the title of poet. But it is only in Mr. 
Browning- that we find enough of fresh- 
ness, vigor, grasp, and of that clear in- 
sight and conception ■^"hich enable the 
artist to construct characters from w^ith- 
in, and so to make them real things, and 
not images, as to warrant our granting 
the honor due to the dramatist.— James 
Russell 'Lowell, in North America fi 

RIEL. i6mo, $1.50. 

SORDELLO, Strafford, Christ- 
mas Eve, and Easter Day. 
i6mo, $1.50. 

Next to Tennyson, we hardly know 
of another English poet who can be 
compared with Browning. — E. P. 

i6mo, $1.50. 




Beyond all parallel the supremest po- 
etical achievement of our time. , . . . . 

The most precious and profound spir- 
itual treasiu'e that England has produced 
since the days of Shakespeare. — London 

TURE. i6mo, $1.50. 

If the modern reader wishes to 
breathe the spirit of the old Greek, to 
feel, too, that " beauty making beautiful 
old rhj'me," he must read the story of 
" Balaustion's Adventure." — Westmin- 
tfcr Review. 


Poems. i6ino, $1.50. 
JOCOSERIA. i6mo, $1.00. 


i6mo, $1.00. 

COUNTRY; or Turf and 

Towers. i6mo, $1.50. 

Some of the lines are wonderfully 
powerful, and some of the scenes are 

remarkably vivid It is a tale of 

passion and superstition, — of love the 
most intense, with doubt and fear and 
sacrifice the most appalling. — NevjTork 

and Second Series). i6mo, 

WORKS. New Edition. In 
eight volumes. Crown 8vo, 
gilt top, S13.00; half calf, 
$22.50. {Sold only in sets.^ 

JOCOSERIA. Uniform with 
New Edition of Works. Crown 
8vo, gilt top, $1.00. 

Uniform with above. Crown 
8vo, gilt top, $1.00. 

*^* For sale by all Bookseller's. Se?it^ post-paid, on receipt of price 
by the Publishers., 


4 Park St., Boston; ii East 17TH St., New York. 


We have by a recent arrangement become Chicago agents 

for the London Browning Society's publications, and invite 

attention to the following list of pamphlets which we have 

now on hand. 



Leaflets of four to twelve pages each, giving reports of the 
informal discussions of papers at the London Browning Soci- 
ety. Twenty-four numbers are now on hand, and will be 
mailed to any address for $1.00. Ten numbers, 50 cents. All 
these Abstracts, with other matter of interest, are included in the 


Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VII are now ready. Price per 
part, to non-members, $2.50 postpaid. We have also Part I 
of the 


the price of which is $2.50. Any of the above can be secured 
at half price by acquiring 


which further entitles the member to two copies of all the 
publications issued by the society during the current year. 
Membership fees, $5.50, which may be remitted through us. 


Robert Browning's Poetry. Outline studies published for 
the Chicago Browning Society. Paper, 25 cents; cloth, 50 
cents; postpaid. 

" Seed Thoughts'" from Browning and others. Selected bv 
Mary E. Burt. Paper, 62 pages, decorated cover, 30c., postpaid. 

Browning's Selected Poetns. Red Line edition, full gilt, 
$1.00, postpaid. 

Browning's Women. By Mary E. Burt, $1.00, postpaid. 
Ready in December. 

175 Dearborn Street, ckicago. 




This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 

Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 






ftMft 8 IMK,. 

LD 21A-50m-12,'60 

General Library 

University of California